The 24 Hour Deadline

Source: HackCollege
Source: HackCollege

I’ve always believed that my best work comes when I’m pressed for time and my paper is due tomorrow and I haven’t started it at all so I have to furiously type away at the keyboard until it’s done. That worked well in high school when I produced an entirety of a 36-page research paper by pulling an all-nighter the night before it was due. Or maybe I’m just amazed that I did it in the first place. Regardless, it’s not the best method for producing quality papers. HackCollege suggests the first place to start is with an outline. Rarely do you find a paper that doesn’t have some form of a structure. From there, you just need to get all your ideas down. Write, don’t edit. That comes later. Get all the key points down, even if it’s not quite right. It’s just important to put it all down on paper. However, this can be the hardest part.

Maybe nothing is coming to you and you feel exhausted or restless or uninspired. Take a walk, talk to a friend about your ideas, take a snack break. When you come back, you’ll have a different outlook on the idea and hopefully be inspired to write more. You need to manage your time well during the writing phase. Maybe spread it out over a few days, write in short bursts so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Planning ahead and getting a few thoughts down at a time is the best course of action. Don’t leave it to the night before. Hit up HackCollege for more tips on writing papers.

Reading Comprehension: Don’t Hate the Internet, Hate the Game

Contrary to popular belief, people are actually reading more now than they ever have before. However, we’re not all cracking open Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte. The majority of information we absorb is through reading in the media. Even social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr require us to read, albeit in a very different way. Our reading comprehension is not actually suffering as it has been strained of late. With too much stimuli bombarding us at every moment, our attention spans have become shorter and shorter, limiting our ability to comprehend and absorb what we read. We need to reconsider our relationship with reading and what it means to us.

Nowadays, we are more interested on having an opinion on a topic rather than thoughtfully and critically thinking about it before commenting. While a lot of us gravitate towards sources that validate our own opinions, we should be seeking out opposing voices. This will slow down one’s reading consumption and help create a more well-rounded reading base. If reading, in whatever form that comes to you, causes you anxiety and you feel like it’s more of a chore that you have to keep up with, then you need to reevaluate how and what you read. To learn more about boosting your reading comprehension and being a smarter, more conscientious reader, check out Lifehacker’s article.

How to Be Benedict Cumberbatch

sherlock holmes
Source: Lifehacker

As much as we’d all like to be Benedict Cumberbatch’s cunning version of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s show Sherlock, we haven’t spent our entire life training ourselves to notice every tiny detail. However, all is not lost. You still have Holmes-potential. It may take some time, but you can retrain your brain to become more observant.

Just like any habit, you need to start by changing little things every day. By giving yourself daily challenges to accomplish, like studying the behaviors of people you know, you will be more likely to slow down and take notice of details. It may even be helpful to take field notes, write down what you see and hear and what conclusions you might deduce. It’s important to focus on yourself as well. Take a moment to meditate, see where your thoughts wander to, and you might be better able to focus on the world around you with clarity.

Above all else, ask questions. “Holmes doesn’t think linearly, he engages his entire network of possible connections.” The more questions you ask, the greater your knowledge base becomes and the larger your mind map grows. Deductions will be easier to make when you make stronger connections between different points of information on your map. Sherlock didn’t become as clever as he is by simply jumping to random conclusions. Read up on Lifehacker’s article, Watson. And you just might be able to fill his shoes some day.

Expresso (not espresso)

Stop that eye twitch, it’s not misspelled. I’m talking Expresso – the writer’s style tool, not espresso (the writer’s coping tool).

Forging an honest, unique voice is one of the biggest struggles for many writers. Unfortunately, outside of a trusted editor, available tools can be noticeably lacking. Expresso is great because it admits upfront that style is more of an art than a science – all while providing specific, detailed data. With the ability to detect a whole list full of typical writing weak points (like passive voice or filler words) and specific grammar stats (like sentence length and reading level) it could provide a whole new perspective on tone and style. Hard data, editing style.